By BRIAN SMITH
New River Fellowship is taking baptism to a whole new level later this month.
The church will be using the wave pool at Splash Kingdom WildWest Waterpark June 29 to baptize an estimated 100 people at the start of New River Night at the park. The rest of the event will allow church members a chance to enjoy the park and welcome the new members to the church.
Senior Pastor Scott Crenshaw said the baptism is a way to ease the overwhelming amount of people wanting to be baptized at the church.
“We are seeing an amazing influx of people now from the Aledo and Fort Worth area right now and another 175 people a week coming from Mineral Wells where we want to start another campus in the future,” Crenshaw said. “Nearly all of our three services each Sunday right now are being taken up by baptisms.”
It’s not the first time the church has tried something like this. Last September the church had a Big Splash where 60 baptisms took place. Using the waterpark for a church night is something Crenshaw has wanted to do since the park opened last July.
“Since we are right across the highway from them, it’s only natural,” Crenshaw said. “About a month ago our Prayer and Freedom Minister Bernie Kelly, who is in charge of baptisms, came to me wanting a way to celebrate that night with something big and also ease the number of baptisms we’re doing at church. I thought let’s do it at the water park.”
Crenshaw and other New River staff met with Splash Kingdom officials, who were very supportive of the idea. As soon as Crenshaw saw the wave pool, he knew where he wanted to have the event.
As of June 12, 73 people are taking part in the event, but that number is expected to rise once knowledge of the event gets out. Only those being baptized knew about the event at the waterpark, which begins at 6:30 p.m., Crenshaw said.
Two business owners, Truck Toys and Michael’s Personal Training Studio, are underwriting the event so church members are able to attend the night free.